Sailaja N. Joshi

Well, the time has come.

In Anthropology, Oscar, United States, Women in Society, World Value Survey on March 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

And it certainly has. This years Oscar winner for Best Director went to Kathryn Bigelow, for the Hurt Locker. She made Oscar history for being the first ever female director to win in this category.

That’s right folks. In the 80 some odd years of Oscar history a woman has never won the award for best director. Odd, don’t you think? Especially considering that we Americans laud ourselves as being both modern and forward thinking individuals.

Yet, we have yet to elect a female president.

Why is that? We as Americans are modern, right?

Wrong.

According to the World Values Survey, conducted by the University of Michigan, the United States is the most traditional industrialized nation. What does being a traditional society mean? It means we believe in traditional gender roles and are generally have one prevailing religion that tends to dominate the cultural landscape.

Being a traditional society is in our American roots. Our forefathers, well not my forefathers but perhaps your forefathers, came to America to escape religious persecution. They were however mostly Puritans and thus some of their traditional religious values became the foundation for our present day society.

Like many societies, our societal values are based the beliefs held by a dominate group of individuals. For us in America, this translated to wealthy, white men. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as if you take a look at our government today, its still mostly wealthy white men. Granted, our government has diversified itself, after all we do have an African-American president.

So, what does this have to do with Miss Bigelow? Well, it does not have much to do with her directly but does speak volumes to the fact that we continue to mention her win as a milestone for our society. I believe, by nominating and awarding Ms. Bigelow we have not only acknowledge her achievement but we have begun the process of liberalizing our own country.

We have begun to recognize ourselves as perhaps a bit outdated and in need of diversification. Thus, we are now more open to having a minority represent us in government and perhaps even a women as the best director.

I call attention to this gradual change from traditional to liberal to note that we are certainly a dynamic society. As we know, change does not happen over night and in our society, it has taken generations to elect a black president and 81-years for us to have a female best director.

And so yes, this time has certainly come for us to become a more liberalized nation. Accepting of those who have been with us for so long, and yet have hardly been recognized.

So congrats Ms. Bigelow for your award and a big thumbs up to the United States, your on your way to becoming a more liberalized society.

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